The general counsel is the senior attorney that represents a business. This can be an in-house position or a partner from an outside law firm. This position is also named chief counsel or legal director. The general counsel will report directly to the headquarters of a company and monitor any potential risks in all departments. For example, the sales department will send its transaction contracts to the general counsel to ensure their compliance with regulations. A Mergers & Acquisitions department will build its M&A model with the general counsel as well. The general counsel may also oversee employee recruiting and offer advice to Human Resources departments. Since it is an important role in the whole company, it requires expert skills in data collection and legal analysis with at least 5-10 years of experience in relevant fields; therefore, some small businesses may not pay a high salary to this position but instead hire outside counsel from a law firm.
[Last updated in February of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]